wipe on tung oil

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Forum topic by kiwi1969 posted 11-19-2009 02:19 PM 1456 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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608 posts in 3678 days

11-19-2009 02:19 PM

Need some opinions. I,ve only ever used brush on or spray on poly/varnish/NC type finishes and have just found wipe on tung oil in the local hardware. So whats it like. It sounds like a “no muss no fuss” finish according to the label. It claims to be resistant to heat and alcohol damage and only needs a couple of coats and the jobs done. Cost wise it seems to be a winner as well. Any and all opinions/advice for and against this type of finish most welcome.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

7 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4059 days

#1 posted 11-19-2009 03:00 PM

Wipe on finishes are pretty easy to apply and, in my opinion, are preferable to brushing. Generally they have been diluted with a solvent such as mineral spirits and go on easily with a clean cotton cloth or paper towel. The are less prone to sags and runs and are self leveling so you avoid brush strokes.

But I suspect that you will need more than two coats of finish. Generally wiping products need several applications simply because they are thinned materials. When I put on wiping polyurethane I generally expect to put on from 6 to 8 coats to get the build that I want in the finish. But your product should produce an effective topcoat.

There is some confusion with respect the formulation and labeling of tung oil finishes by the manufacturers. Here is an article on tung oil by Bob Flexner that was printed in Poplar Woodworking and is pulled from his book, Understanding Wood Finishing, which is an informative book.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4119 days

#2 posted 11-19-2009 03:12 PM

I really like it too. It gives that oiled look that is hard to get from poly. As mentioned, it takes a lot of coats. I like to use a sanding sealer first to keep the number of coats to a managable level. What is different from wipe on varnish products is that you should flood the surface and then check back back often and burnish in any seepage that will occur.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View patron's profile


13641 posts in 3578 days

#3 posted 11-19-2009 03:14 PM

i’ve been looking into tung oil myself ,
i haven’t used it yet either .
what i have found thru google and on LJ’s ,
pure tung oil doesn’t darken with age ,
unlike other linssed and varnish based .
also that anything that says ” finish ” ,
is a mixture with mineral spirits or turpentine ,
to speed up drying time ,
and may or may not even have the oil it claims to be in it !
it doesn’t fill the pores , that you have to do prior with a filler .
if you want a smooth and filled surface .

frankly , i’m still looking too .

maybe someone will come along and let us know
the facts ?

while we wait for the bus together .

good luck !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3678 days

#4 posted 11-19-2009 11:33 PM

thanks for the links and opinions guys. I think I will give this stuff a try.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5148 posts in 4197 days

#5 posted 11-20-2009 09:03 PM

Make sure that it is tung oil “FINISH” not pure tung oil. I have used it with good results after about 6 coats.


View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3525 days

#6 posted 11-20-2009 09:09 PM

u can also get seal a cell and arm a seal and u get a good finnish too. and from what i hear from David Marks they are a mix of tung oil and other varnishes well anyway i know they give a great finnish cuz i use them on some of my workings also i have pure tung oil that i mix for my own finnish.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3381 days

#7 posted 11-21-2009 12:51 AM

This product is almost certainly a wipe on varnish, little to no actual tung oil.

That said, wipe on varnishes are good finishes, not as durable as poly but other than needing a sanding sealer with very porous woods (oak) they dry rapidly and build up well.

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